bowls can be fascinating and rewarding…but turning a solid block
of wood into a
bowl can waste an awful lot of stock. Instead, try laminating your turning
stock. Simply put, lamination is the gluing and stacking of woods…a
simple technique that makes the best use of your stock and permits you
to easily turn deeper bowls.
Here’s a simple, step-by-step procedure for turning an 8”
diameter bowl to help you get started in laminated turning. For safety’s
sake, be sure to read all instructions, turn off the machine before making
any adjustments and wear a dust mask and eye protection while working.
Selecting your wood
You can either use a single wood species (such as cherry), or alternate
layers of light and dark woods (such as maple and walnut, etc.). Try to
select woods with unique grain patterns and color. Two important tips:
1: Don’t turn stock with cracks, knots and sap pockets. 2: Don’t
laminate hardwoods to softwoods.
Prepare the wood
To turn an 8” diameter laminated bowl, use four pieces of wood…cut
from three pieces of 3/4" thick stock, surfaced on both sides –
8” x 8” – 7” x 7” – and 6” x
6”. If you use a thickness planer, be sure to surface your long
pieces of stock, before you cut it into the sizes mentioned here.
Cutting the stock
Next, mark your stock for cutting as follows: Start with your 8”
piece of stock and use a compass to draw an 8” diameter circle…and
a 5-1/4” diameter circle on it.
draw a 7” and a 4-1/2” diameter circle on your 7” piece
of stock…and a single 6” diameter circle on your 6”
piece of stock (See Fig. 1).
Drill a 1/4" diameter hole anywhere on the circumference of the smaller
diameter circles on your 7” and 8; pieces of stock.
Use your Bandsaw to cut out the 8”, 7” and 6” diameter
circles on your three workpieces…
then use your Scroll Saw
Gluing up the stock
Set aside the small (4-1/2” dia.) circle from your 7” piece
of stock. Arrange your two rings and two blanks in ascending order (small-to-large)…then
arrange the grain patterns of the rings as you like. Make a pencil mark
so you can locate the same position after applying the glue.
Evenly spread a layer of yellow woodworker’s glue then securely
clamp the stock together with Handscrew
Clamps (See Fig 3). Allow the glue to dry for at least 24 hours before
Mounting the laminated stock
To mount the laminated stock directly to a 3-3/4” Faceplate
Turn your MARK V on and set the Speed Dial to SLOW . Turn the machine
off and mount the Faceplate (with your stock attached) securely to the
Spindle. It always a good idea to use a see-through Lathe Safety Shield
Turning the bowl
NOTE: During the entire turning process, never exceed speed setting “D”
(1,000 rpms) on your MARK V’s Speed Dial.
Starting with a sharp
Roundnose Chisel, make light, even cuts as you rough-out the outside of
your laminated stock. Turn from the large ring down to the small ring
and once the rough-out is completed, use a sharp Skew Chisel to scrape
the rough end grain smooth (See Fig 6).
Turn the machine off and move the Tool Rest to the inside of the bowl.
Again, use light, even cuts as you once again use your sharp Roundnose
Chisel, moving from the outside edge toward the inside center of your
rotating stock (See Fig. 7)…keeping the thickness of the bowl’s
Sanding the bowl
Remove the Tool Rest. Be sure your MARK V’s Speed Dial is set on
SLOW. Put on your Dust Respirator
Finishing the bowl
When applying a finish,
leave the bowl mounted on the Machine. One good tip is to mount an additional
(empty) Faceplate to the Auxiliary Spindle…unplug your MARK V…and
rotate this second Faceplate with one hand while you apply your finish
with the other.
If you’re planning to use this bowl for serving food, be sure to
use a non-toxic finish such as Salad Bowl Finish